The Pick ‘N Save located on S. Park Street plans to shut down in 2022. This means some Madison residents might need to travel nearly three miles to get to the nearest full-grocery option.
In the face of the space being used by businesses – and to avoid a food desert for the area, neighborhood leaders have been pushing for more grocery options. That campaign is called Save Our Supermarkets.
And today, the City of Madison, local housing organization Movin’ Out Inc, and developer Rule Enterprises held a groundbreaking to announce a new solution.
Their plan: a $43 million project to combine affordable apartments and a 24,000 square foot grocery store. The multi-use complex is slated to include a fitness center, accessible food options, and affordable housing for underserved populations.
Kathryne Auerback is Executive Director at Movin’ Out, an organization that works to provide more inclusive affordable housing solutions to those with disabilities.
She says the project will include 150 units of permanent, affordable housing to the community. She also says that housing will be mixed-income.
“So, that means they will be affordable for households with annual incomes between 30 and 80% of the calculated median income and 30 of those 150 units will be designated as supportive units for people with permanent disabilities or veterans,” says Auerback.
Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes Conway joined the groundbreaking conference today, along with developer Brandon Rule, president of real estate company Rule Enterprises.
This is Rule’s first real estate project in Madison. He says that after growing up watching gentrification on the south side of Milwaukee, providing affordable housing in developments is important to him.
It’s the latest plan in a multi-year struggle to maintain food access to the community. Initially, the plan for the Truman Olson property was to demolish the grocery store once it closed, to make way for a new health center. Then, community members pushed back – and SSM agreed to move their health clinic to a location on Fish Hatchery Road.
Madison Alder Tag Evers represents part of the location to be developed. He says public input and the Save our Supermarket campaign played a role in this current plan.
“The community input was really high and was considered crucial to the success of this project. People didn’t want to see the only grocery store serving [South] Madison to go away without any options to replace it. So, we listened closely to what folks had to say,” Evers states.
Luna’s Groceries had been slated to be the next supermarket in the space, a key component of the plan to fill the void. But in late September, they withdrew from the plan, saying it would be challenging to accomplish their vision on this scale and in this timeframe. That left the city and neighborhood wondering “who now?”
The current Pick ‘N Save has agreed to remain up-and-running until the new grocery store has started so the community doesn’t have a time gap without grocery service. Evers says this was a monumental decision.
“My goal all along would be that we could cut the ribbon on the new grocery store at the same time we turn out the lights at the old grocery store, so that there would be no interruption,” he says.
Evers also states that a new company will be announced in the near future.